Published Oct 14, 2015Patti Smith was brought to tears earlier this week during her promo push behind M Train when a collection of long-gone and treasured mementos were given back to her after nearly four decades of being out of her possession.
The touching scene took place last Sunday (October 11) at Illinois' Dominican University, where Smith was doing a reading. As reported by a fan online and confirmed by the Chicago Tribune, Smith was approached by Noreen Bender, who gave the artist a bag full of clothes she hadn't seen since the '70s. This included a shirt she had worn on the cover of Rolling Stone in 1978, a Keith Richards T-shirt (pictured above), and a piece of cloth given to Smith by her brother, Todd Smith.
It's further explained that the items were lifted from a tour van in 1979 after a gig in Chicago, with the loss of items and merchandise apparently having totalled $40,000. Apparently, it was the cloth from her late brother that touched her the most, leading her to tear-up in public.
"Before long, half the audience was crying with her ... [Some] were asking where, how, why, but Patti just put her hands out and said she doesn't care how, she's just so grateful to have these priceless items back," the fan wrote in the forum. "She couldn't stop touching them, eventually slowly slipping the bandana into her pocket ... and proceeded to do a ripping version of 'Because the Night' with her son on acoustic guitar."
Bender later told the Tribune that she had had come across the various items "decades ago through a male friend of her Chicago roommate at the time." The roommate had been an employee at U-Haul, though it's unclear if that's how the items were discovered. She added: "I just thought, Oh my god, these are her clothes and they still have her sweat on them."
Bender had apparently been trying to find the right time to give Smith back the cherished items.
Smith's M Train was released earlier this month through Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. As previously reported, the book plays out as a "a roadmap to my life" using 18 different New York City locations as settings to discuss "the inevitable losses that come to us in life — and the consolation we might salvage from them."
She's currently on tour promoting the memoirs and hit Toronto last night (October 13). You'll find her list of remaining promotional appearances over here.